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banned books display

A display of banned books.

Librarians Push Back Against Book Bans

March 6, 2023

Librarians Push Back Against Book Bans

Ask Students: Where are some of the places that librarians feel threatened? Why are some groups trying to get books removed from local libraries?

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Summary

Scrutiny of libraries, books and teaching materials has become a central issue for conservative politicians around the nation. In Louisiana, the fight over banning books is escalating and targeting librarians as conservative Christian groups are working to take over the boards of public libraries. New Orleans Communities Correspondent Roby Chavez joined Geoff Bennett to discuss.

For a transcript of this story, click here.

Remote video URL

Discussion Questions

  • Who are some of the people interviewed in this story, and what are their backgrounds?
  • Where are some of the places that librarians feel threatened?
  • Why are some groups trying to get books removed from local libraries?
  • What sort of books make up over 40% of proposed bans, according to the organization PEN America?
  • How much have book challenges increased since 2017?

Focus Questions

Why do you think efforts to remove books from libraries and confront librarians and school board members have increased in the past few years?

Media Literacy: Why do you think Louisiana is the focus of this story if similar things are happening in other states?

Additional Exercise

Find out what is happening in your community and state. See if as a class you can find the following information:

  • Who makes decisions about what books are included in your school library and local public library?
  • Has any legislation been passed or proposed at the state level to remove books from schools or libraries?

You can also read more on the most commonly banned books, as well as the ways books are challenged, from a list developed by the American Library Association. You can also find more information about book bans by state from PEN America here.

Addressing Threats to Democracy

Using the January 6 insurrection as a teachable moment, we assembled educational resources to help students reflect on the events leading up to and on that day, as well as resources that explore ongoing threats to the integrity of a democratic government, including how to foster media literacy and civil discourse, understand voter suppression and how to identify misinformation.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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